A Golden Retriever puppy curled up on your bed--what could be cuter? A 100-pound Retriever that spent the day swimming in a swamp, sprawled out in the middle of your bed on your new duvet...not so much!
Training your Golden Retriever to sleep in a crate at night might be a better option, 'just saying! Having your Golden sleep in a crate at night has several advantages. Besides keeping your bed dog-free, it speeds up house training considerably, gets him accustomed to a crate that can later be used for addressing behavioral issues or traveling, and keeps your pup safe while you are sleeping--an unsupervised dog can chew on dangerous items like electrical cords or sharp objects, or get into food that will make him sick. Your Golden Retriever may not be too happy about the chosen sleeping location at first--your bed, after all, was pretty comfy--but there are several ways to make your Retriever's crate a favorite, safe place, for your dog. Dogs are, after all, “den” animals, and making your dog's crate his den gives him a safe place of his own to sleep quietly at night.
In order to train your Golden Retriever to happily and quietly sleep in a crate at night, you need to make the crate a great place. This means never using it as a form of punishment. Although confining your dog to a crate may be required to keep him out of trouble, it should never be accompanied by punishment or yelling, which will create a negative association with the crate.
The younger you start your Golden Retriever learning to use his crate at night, and to be comfortable with it, the easier it will be to establish it as a quiet retreat your dog is happy to use. You may want to include a verbal command to give your dog direction to get into his crate, such as “kennel up”, “bedtime”, “den” or “crate”. It is not uncommon, especially for young dogs, to cry or whine at night when left in their crates at first. After all, they would rather be snuggled up with you. It is important not to respond to crying, which will only reinforce it. Keep in mind that a puppy or young dog may need to go out for potty breaks in the middle of the night. To avoid having to respond to a crying dog that needs a bathroom break, schedule breaks before your dog starts to vocalize, that way he will not need to alert you, and won't have crying reinforced by being let out of his crate for a midnight romp in the yard.
Me and my wife recently brought home our male golden retriever puppy. We have had him for 2 weeks and for those two weeks we have gotten up in the middle of the night when he starts to whine to take him out to pee. I have had friends who are long time dog owners to not let him out in the middle of the night. They said he will pee on himself a couple times but he will stop once he realizes he needs to hold it throughout the night. They said if we continue to let him out during the night that he will always expect to be let out during the night and therefore will not learn to hold his pee throughout the night. Is this true and is this an acceptable way to crate train a male golden retriever?
Hello Kyle, Do not listen to your friends' advice. Riggs is still young enough that he likely does need to pee in the middle of the night. If you let him pee on himself in the crate multiple times, you run the risk of him loosing his natural desire to hold his pee in a crate. Loosing that desire makes potty training using a crate almost impossible. The situation would be different if he was six-months old, but a ten week old puppy cannot help his need to pee. Continue taking him outside during the night if he asks at this age, but to ensure that he is not asking to go potty out of habit do the following: 1. When you take him out during the night, take him on a leash, keep the trip very boring and calm, and put him straight back into the crate after he pees. If he cries when you put him back in the crate and you know that his bladder is empty now, ignore the crying. 2. Move him out of your bedroom and use an audio baby monitor to listen out for him needing to go potty during the night...You only need to do this if he begins to wake up to play or because he hears you...You can do it if you would simply like for him out of the bedroom however, and it will have the added benefit of teaching him to sleep somewhere away from you - which can make traveling and boarding him easier as an adult. 3. Remove all food and water two hours before you put him to bed. 4. Take him outside to go potty on a leash and watch him to make sure that he actually goes potty, right before you put him to bed - not thirty-minutes or an hour beforehand because his bladder will not shut down until he is actually asleep. His bladder calming down is what allows him to hold his pee throughout the night. 5. Don't expect him to sleep for longer than 10-12 hours at night. The exact amount will depend on how often he sleeps during the day. Keep an eye on his evenings, that 10-12 hours will begin when he falls asleep in the evening, not just when you put him into the crate. If he is going to sleep early in the evening, then he will wake up earlier - fully rested and ready for the day. 6. Don't feed him in the morning until the time when you want him to normally wake up and eat when he is older. You want his body to get used to eating at that time and not an earlier time. If his body gets used to eating at an earlier time because he woke up too early to pee one morning, then his body might begin to wake him up to eat too soon in the morning. If you get him up earlier to pee and let him stay up, then wait to feed him until it is within one-hour of when he normally eats. An occasional exception to this is not detrimental, but avoid a habit of it. If you run into any specific issues, then you can always check back here with questions as he gets older. Most puppies wake up during the night until they are around twelve weeks of age. Their bladders can only go so long. Some puppies sleep through the night earlier and some a bit later, but when a puppy actually needs to pee, he needs to be taken outside. You simply need to stick to your routine and not do anything but take him outside and right back in, so that he will not learn to wake up for any reason (like playing, cuddling or eating) besides a full bladder...Learning to wake up for a reason other than a full bladder is what leads to long term night-wakings. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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